Grammar-Translation Method Liwei Zhang Department of Language&Linguistics
Structure of this presentation • Definition • Background • Principle Characteristics • Shortcomings of Grammar-Translation Method • Innovations • The Reform Movement • Summary
Grammar Translation Method "a method of foreign or second language teaching which makes use of translationand grammar study as the main teaching and learning activities." ---Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Pearson Education Limited.pp.231.
Background • The Grammar Translation Method was the traditional way Latin and Greek were taught in Europe. • In the 19th century it began to be used to teach “modern” languages such as French, German, and English, and it is still used in some countries today. • A typical lesson consists of the presentation of a grammatical rule, a study of lists of vocabulary, and a translation exercise. Personal understanding of this point: grammatical rules + vocabulary translation or A lesson= grammatical rules+vocabulary+translation end up with
Background • Because the Grammar Translation Method emphasizes reading rather than the ability to communicate in a language, there was areaction to it in the 19th century (see NATURAL APPROACH, DIRECT METHOD),and there was later a greater emphasis on the teaching of spoken language. ---Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Pearson Education Limited. pp.231.
Principal Characteristics • Grammar Translation is a way of studying a language that approaches the language first through detailed analysis of its grammar rules, followed by application of this knowledge to the task of translating sentences and texts into and out of the target language... • Reading and writing are the major focus; little or no systematic attention is paid to speaking and listening. • Vocabulary selection is based solely on the reading texts used, and words are taught through bilingual word lists,dictionary study, and memorization. • The sentence is the basic unit of teaching and language practice. Much of the lesson is devoted to translating sentences into and out of the target language, and it is this focus on the sentence that is a distinctive feature of this method. Grammar Rules Target Language Translation
Principle Characteristics • Accuracy is emphasized. Students are expected to attain high standards in translation, because of "the high priority attached to meticulous standards of accuracy which, as well as having an intrinsic moral value, was a prerequisite for passing the increasing number of formal written examinations that grew up during the century" (Howatt 1984: 132, cf. Jack C. Richards & Theodore S. Rodgers, 1986,4). • Grammar is taught deductively, that is, by presentation and study of grammar rules, which are then practiced through translation exercises. • The student's native language is the medium of instruction. It is used to explain new items and to enable comparisons to be made between the foreign language and the student's native language. ----Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Presspp.3-4.
Shortcomings • "a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce perfect translations ofstilted or literary prose." ---Adapted from Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.pp.4. • "It is a method for which there is no theory. There is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational theory."(ibid.p.5)
Innovations • Time: mid-nineteenth century • Factors that lead to the rejection of Grammar-Translation Method: A. Increased opportunities for communication among Europeans created a demand for oral proficiency in foreign languages. B. Language teaching specialists also turned their attention to the way modern languages were being taught in secondary schools. C. New approaches to language teaching were developed by individual languageteaching specialists. --Adapted from Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.pp.5
The Reform Movement link
Summary • Grammar teaching involves any instructional technique that draws learners' attention to some specificgrammatical form in such a way that it helps them either to understand it metalinguistically and/or process it incomprehension and/or production so that they can internalize it (Ellis, 2006, cf. Shih-Chuan Chang,2011,pp.15). Personal understanding: metalinguistic understanding of grammatical form internalization and use of it in comprehension and production
“Translation can make the student come to closer grips with the target language. A simultaneous awareness of twomedia could actually make the student see the points of convergence and divergence more clearly and also refine thetools of perception and analysis resulting in divergent thinking."(Chellapan, 1982, cf.Shih-Chuan Chang, 2011,pp.16)
References • Chellapan, K.(1982). Translanguage, Translation and Second Language Acquisition. In F Eppert (Ed.), Papers ontranslation: Aspects, Concepts, Implications (pp. 57-63) Singapore: SEMEO Regional Language Center. • Ellis, R. (2006). Current issues in the teaching of grammar: an SLA perspective. TESOL Quarterly, 40 (1): 83-107.
Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Pearson Education Limited. • Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Shih-Chuan Chang. (2011).A Contrastive Study of Grammar Translation Method andCommunicative Approach in Teaching English Grammar. English Language Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 2,pp.15-16.
Further readings • Castro, Ruben. (2010). A Pilot Study Comparing Total Physical Response Storytelling[TM] with the Grammar-Translation Teaching Strategy to Determine Their Effectiveness in Vocabulary Acquisition among English as a Second Language Adult Learners. Online Submission, Retrieved from http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&PAGE=reference&D=eric3&NEWS=N&AN=ED509467 • Sadeghi, Sima & Ketabi, Saeed. (2010). Translation: Towards a Critical-Functional Approach. Babel, 44(3), 4. • Sapargul, Destan & Sartor, Valerie. (2010). The Trans-Cultural Comparative Literature Method: Using Grammar Translation Techniques Effectively. English Teaching Forum, 48(3), 26.